College of Arts & Sciences English

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Ph.D. FAQs

Prospective Students
  1. Applying for the Ph.D. Program
  2. I've Been Accepted. Now What?
  3. Beginning the First Semester
  4. Miscellaneous
Applying for the Ph.D. Program

What are the English Department's admission requirements?
A master's degree in English or a related field and a minimum graduate grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) are necessary for admission to the Ph.D. program. Scores for the GRE general test must be submitted, but no subject test is required. A TOEFL score of at least 620 (paper test) or 260 (computer test), or IELTS score of 7.0, is required of international applicants. More information can be found on our Ph.D. Page.

Are there graduate teaching or research assistantships available?
The Department's major source of financial support for graduate students is the Teaching Assistantship, which is normally offered to students accepted into the Ph.D. program. Teaching Assistantships are renewable for a total of four years. TAs receive an annual stipend of $14,500 and a reduction in tuition to one-third of the in-state graduate tuition rate. Most TAs teach two sections of a lower-division writing or literature course each semester.

Some additional assistance is available in the form of awards to continuing students whose academic performance or creative achievements have been outstanding. Graduate students are also eligible for loans and for work-study programs. For more information, you might want to contact USD's Office of Financial Aid.

Can I apply directly to the Ph.D. program with a bachelor's degree?
No, in this case, you would apply to the M.A. program. Each year, some of our M.A. students apply for admission to the Ph.D. program. These applicants are considered for admission alongside applicants from other M.A. programs.

How do I get a Graduate School catalog and application?
The Graduate School Catalog is available online. You can also find an Application to the Graduate School online. See our Ph.D. Page for a detailed summary of application requirements.

Can I apply online?
Yes, see the Grad School's Apply Now page to apply online to the graduate program.

What is the application deadline for the English Ph.D. program at the University of South Dakota?
Ph.D. applications are due February 1. A complete application consists of an application form, statement of purpose, undergraduate and graduate transcripts, three letters of reference, a writing sample and all required standardized test scores. Late applications may be considered at the discretion of the Coordinator of Graduate Studies.

What is required to complete my application packet?
You can Request an Application Packet that includes everything that is needed to apply or you can Apply Online. Both processes will guide you through each required step.

Can recommendation letters be from anyone?
Three recommendation letters are required for all applicants to the Ph.D. program in English. You should ask for recommendations from those who are well situated to describe your academic background and your suitability for graduate study in English. The person providing the recommendation may either mail the completed form directly to the Graduate School or seal the completed form in an envelope, write his/her name across the flap on the back of the envelope, and return it to you for inclusion with the application. Graduate School recommendation forms are included in the Application Packet.

What score on the GRE is required for admission?
The GRE score is only one of many factors considered during the evaluation of applications. GRE scores of admitted applicants vary considerably. In some cases, a high GRE score can help significantly with admission; in other cases, students with lower GREs may be admitted based on other elements of the application. In the past year, the median GRE scores for admitted applicants were 600 (verbal), 620 (quantitative), and 4.5 (analytical writing).

Can I pay the application fee by credit card?
When Applying Online you may choose to pay by credit card or mail in a check.

When will I hear if I have been admitted to the Ph.D. program?
Every effort is made to contact prospective students by mid-March (Applications are due Feb. 1) although this time can vary. Feel free to contact the Coordinator of Graduate Studies at gradschool@usd.edu to check on the status of your application.

How large is the graduate program in English?
Currently there are about 25 Ph.D. students and 45 M.A. students studying for degrees in English at the University of South Dakota. You can learn more about the department's faculty members by looking at our Faculty and Staff page.

How many students are admitted each year to the Ph.D. program?
There is no fixed number of students admitted each year. In the past few years, we have admitted between five and ten applicants. 

How long is an offer of admission valid?
If you are accepted, and for any reason you cannot begin studies as USD the following fall, you should contact us and request a deferral of your acceptance.

What resources are available for international students?
Most questions can be answered by visiting the International Graduate Admissions Page.

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I've Been Accepted.  Now What?
 

How much will it cost to attend the University of South Dakota?
The actual cost is based on several different factors, depending on residency, assistantships, and any scholarships you may receive. The best way to figure out the cost of attending the University of South Dakota is by checking the Business Office Tuition Page.

How do I apply for Financial Aid?
The Department's major source of financial support for graduate students is the Teaching Assistantship. Some additional assistance is available in the form of awards to continuing students whose academic performance or creative achievements have been outstanding. Graduate students are also eligible for loans and for work-study programs administered by USD's Office of Financial Aid.

Where can I find information about scholarships?
Whenever possible, the University of South Dakota English Department likes to recognize and reward outstanding students for their accomplishments and potential as scholars and writers in the field of English. More information can be found on the Scholarships & Awards Page

What is the availability of on and off campus housing for graduate students?
Help for both On-Campus and Off-Campus housing is available through the University.

Where do I find a list of all the dates and deadlines for the Department and the Graduate School?
Most deadlines set by the Graduate School, as well as necessary forms, can be found on the Graduate School Deadlines Page. Please note that earlier deadlines may be set by the English Department.

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Beginning the First Semester
 

I was admitted to the program. What courses should I take? Who will be my advisor?
To learn more about our program requirements, consult the Department's Graduate Student Handbook. All new students are assigned the Department's Coordinator of Graduate Studies, Dr. John Dudley at John.Dudley@usd.edu, as their initial advisor. You should discuss program requirements and course selection with him before registration.

How do I register?
For your first semester, the Department will register you for classes. In subsequent semesters, you will complete your own registration using WebAdvisor, a Web-based interface that allows you to access information from the USD administrative database. Before you can be registered, however, you must submit the immunization form sent to you by Student Health Services. To download an immunization form, or for more information, see the Student Health Services Website.

To confirm or change your registration, and to register in subsequent semesters, you will need to establish an account on WebAdvisor. To set up your account and use WebAdvisor for the first time, go to the Technology Website.

How many credits do I need to be taking to be considered full-time?
For Teaching Assistants in the English Department, a full-time graduate course load is six credit hours. All other English graduate students are considered full-time with nine credit hours. The maximum number of credits allowed per semester is 12 hours, but the English Department strongly discourages enrollment in more than nine hours per semester. TAs wishing to enroll in more than nine hours must obtain the permission of the Department Chair. More information on requirements and full/half time status can be found on the Requirements Page.

Where is the Graduate School located?
The Graduate School is located at 211 McKusick and on the Graduate School Website.

Where do I find a list of all the dates and deadlines for the Graduate School?
The Academic Calendar is available from the Office of the Registrar. Most deadlines set by the Graduate School can be found on the Graduate School Program Application Deadlines Page. Please note that earlier deadlines may be set by the English Department.

Do graduate students who have been accepted need to attend an orientation?
New teaching assistants must attend orientation meetings conducted by the Graduate School and the English Department. An orientation for all English graduate students is held at the beginning of each fall semester. You should receive an email from the department as well as the Graduate School as to the time and place of the orientation.

Where is the library located and where can I find out more information on services offered there?
Any questions you may have about library services can be found on the I.D. Weeks Library Website.

How do I set up an email account through USD?
You should be able to activate your USD email account through Information Technology Services at Account Pickup. You may also set up your username and password by visiting the ITS Help Desk in person. Your username and password will also provide access to on-campus computers, as well as library databases and other online services. The standard email address will look like this: firstname.lastname@usd.edu.

How will I receive news and information from the English Department?
All Ph.D. students are subscribed to an email listserv, though which you should receive messages about events, courses, deadlines, and other relevant information. If you are not receiving regular emails from the listserv, or if your email address has changed, contact Dr. Dudley at John.Dudley@usd.edu.

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Miscellaneous

If I send application material ahead of time (e.g., letter of recommendation, transcripts, GRE scores), how long do I have to submit the application itself before the material is discarded?
The English Department creates and maintains a folder for each applicant. The Department generally keeps application files open for one year. If you have questions or would like the Department to retain application material longer, please contact the Coordinator of Graduate Studies.

How do I apply for a leave of absence from Graduate School?
Instead of applying for a leave of absence, students who are not registered for coursework, but who wish to maintain their status as active students, register for "sustaining" hours. These are zero-credit courses which will not cost you anything, but will allow you to retain email and library privileges, and will allow the Department and Graduate School to accurately track your status and progress toward the degree. You should be aware, however, that student loan providers, health insurance companies, and other entities that require proof of student status do not necessarily accept registration in ENGL 700 or ENGL 800 as evidence of enrollment.

What is WebAdvisor?
WebAdvisor provides registration, course listings, grade, and program evaluation information for all USD faculty, students and their advisors. WebAdvisor can be accessed on any computer that is hooked up to the Internet from the USD home page. To set up your account and use WebAdvisor for the first time, go to the Technology Website.

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